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special to the national law journal Joseph H. Cooper’s one-act play The Peet-zah Delivery was performed this month by the New England Academy of Theatre at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, Conn. Tonight’s squawking Points memo is about: spin zones. Yes, if there’s a motion picture studio in your town, or if there’s a multiplex nearby, or even if the only TV reception you get is from a rickety antenna that pulls in only sit-com reruns from 7 to 10 on weekday evenings-you’re in the realm of the unfair and imbalanced. Caution, you’re about to enter . . . the Spin Zone. [The dapper commentator adjusts the knot of his hand-painted tie; the camera pans back to allow for the on-screen transcript of the evening's Squawking Points memo.] Tonight, we take a look at how TV programmers and Hollywood producers have defamed fathers and fatherhood. Think about the so-called sit-coms aired from 7 to 10 in the evening. Almost every one of them depicts fathers as dolts, dunderheads, boobs, blockheads, nincompoops, dumbclucks and clods who can’t fathom the simplest adolescent or teenage conundrum; who can’t come up with a calm, rational solution if their La-Z-Boy lives depended on it. Movies that are little more than drawn-out sit-coms also hold fathers out for contempt, derision, scorn, ridicule and obloquy. In a theater near you, there’s Daddy Day Care. Need we say more? But perhaps even more insidious is the intentional infliction of emotional distress caused by cinematic misrepresentations that further damage the reputations of fathers and sons. Gangs of New York is a blatant example. Director Martin Scorsese would have us believe that in the middle 1800s, New York City ethnic gangs dealt with each other by knifing, hatcheting, cleavering, cudgeling, bayoneting and bashing. Through careful archival research, Squawking Points has learned that the disputes depicted in the film were litigated-vigorously, it’s true-in court. Look it up, folks. It’s the wrongful- death action Amsterdam Vallon, Executor of the Estate of Priest Vallon v. William Cutting, aka Bill the Butcher, New York Superior Court, Five Points Division (1863). Road to Perdition is another example of how Hollywood misportrays fathers and father figures. Director Sam Mendes would have us believe that Chicago businessmen settled scores with Tommy guns. [ He sighs and delivers with contemptuous precision:] Spin, spin, spin. [ Ebulliently:] Not so. You can look it up. Squawking Points did. Look up the wrongful-death action Michael Sullivan Jr., administrator of the Estates of Michael Sullivan Sr., his wife and his minor child Peter v. John Rooney, his son Connor Rooney, et. al, Chicago Common Pleas, Rock Island Branch (1931). And what will lawyers think of next? Michael Jr. is suing his own father’s estate, claiming damages for reckless endangerment and corrupting the morals of a youth. Now for this evening’s top story. Should the sins of the sons be visited on their fathers? There was, of course, the Perdition spinoff, in which a father had to sue his son for embezzlement- Rooney v. Rooney. But when we return, we’ll talk with three New York district attorneys about the drug-dealing sons in 25th Hour and City by the Sea and the drug-addicted son in 13 Conversations About One Thing. So, counselors, if I’m hearing you correctly, all this could have been avoided if these dads had simply filed for bankruptcy protection and sued the schools that failed to inculcate their sons with proper values? What’s that, counselor? You want me to give you the last word? . . . Nah. Schmidt’s retirement Next up. Have you seen About Schmidt? Well, what about Schmidt? Should Warren R. Schmidt’s daughter be permitted to bring an age discrimination lawsuit against the insurance company that “retired” her father and left him to meandering in search of some elusive fulfillment? And another offspring has conceived a lawsuit of interest-against the Internal Revenue Service for harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Yes, there’s a sequel to Catch Me If You Can, in the disguise of a lawsuit. We’ll catch up with this devoted son when we return. And, for those appalled by Monster’s Ball, we’ll look at a father’s lawsuit alleging that his son’s suicide was attributable to the inhumanity of the state’s incarceration system. Stay tuned, we’ll be back with the Spin Zone’s unresolved-problems segment. You remember all the havoc and mayhem caused by Spider-Man’s nemesis, the Green Goblin. Well, the Spin Zone wants to know why the city of New York hasn’t been able to collect reimbursement for all the clean-up and overtime caused by Mister Norman Osborn. As the Spin Zone reported months ago, the Green Goblin is nothing more than a disguise-an alter ego-for that loony scientist/tycoon/psychopath Norman Osborn. Osborn Industries’ new CEO, Harry Osborn-yeah, Norman Osborn’s son-claims that Osborn Industries and its officers and directors are not responsible for damages caused by dear old dad in his jet-shoes mode. Young Harry is a bit green if he thinks that the citizens of New York are going to buy his story about some kind of indemnification or hold-harmless deal. Look, the Green Goblin tried greenmail (blackmail to the rest of us) and was sent packing by Spider-Man. Maybe it’s time for New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer to get involved. Perhaps Columbia Pictures and Marvel Comics crossed the line in recommending a play in Osborn Industries. Meanwhile, the Spin Zone will do its part to alter the ego of Osborn’s snot-nosed chisel-chinned son, Harry, who is making noises that he’s going to sue the city. His kind of lawsuit demeans the legitimate claims of sons who lost their fathers to repressive regimes. The reparations lawsuits that have arisen from The Pianist and Nowhere in Africa are sullied by the reproachful noises being made by Harry Osborn and his lawyers. Coming up next, in the impact segment of our show: two truly inspiring stories. In John Q, a father who’s lost his major medical takes a hospital hostage to get a heart transplant for his son. Shouldn’t his kidnapping conviction be overturned? In Evelyn, a father fights for the custody of his kids and finally prevails, by overturning Irish law. Shouldn’t he be awarded attorney fees and costs? And finally, our most ridiculous story of the day. The Intergalactic Child and Youth Welfare and Adoption Agency has refused to allow Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, Niobe, Wolverine, Mystique, Nightcrawler and Storm access to the files that contain information about their biological parents. Meanwhile, the father of the bride in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, along with the father of the bride (and her soccer-playing sister) in Bend it Like Beckham-both of whom have experience with cross-cultural romantic entanglements-have agreed to stand in for any unions between the X-Men mutants and refugees from The Matrix. For more insights, check my Web site, where you can order a copy of my book, Counselor, I’ll Give You the Last Word-Right! We’d love to hear from you dads and moms, sons and daughters. E-mail us your pithy comments if you wish to opine. We’re always looking for news of family-grievance movies and the lawsuits that inspired them.

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